Environment

WNPR's Environmental Reporting Initiative is made possible by United Technologies Corporation.

peasap / Creative Commons

Wildlife explorers are expected at the UConn Storrs campus this weekend for a 24-hour "BioBlitz."

Bill Coppersmith, a fisherman in Maine, might want to buy a lottery ticket. He's gotten pretty lucky lately. This week he caught a rare orange lobster while fishing with his sternman Brian Skillings, writes the Portland Press Herald.

The paper talked to Robert Bayer, executive director of The Lobster Institute at the University of Maine, who said that the actual odds of catching an orange lobster would just be a guess. But "it's one in several million, there's no doubt about that," he said.

State and federal officials are turning to researchers at the University of Rhode Island to help them understand what happened at Salty Brine State Beach over the weekend when a mini explosion knocked a woman into a jetty, leaving her with two broken ribs. A team of scientists will convene at the beach at low tide later today to collect samples in their search for answers.

Tony Austin / Creative Commons

We must really love tomatoes. Even with farmer's markets, CSAs, and farm stands loaded with fresh, locally-grown tomato fruits this time of year, we still insist on growing our own. This is even more impressive considering all the problems tomatoes can have.

slack12 / Creative Commons

Water-quality data about beaches on Long Island Sound has been publicly available for a while, but understanding it can be tricky. Now, a new online tool could help make that process easier.

Lightning strikes have killed at least 20 people in the U.S. so far this year, according to the National Weather Service. That's higher than the average for recent years, the service says.

Most people who are injured or killed by lightning, it turns out, are not struck directly — instead, the bolt lands nearby.

That's what happened to Steve Marshburn in 1969. He was working inside a bank and says lightning somehow made its way through an ungrounded speaker at the drive-through window to the stool where he was sitting.

For the past quarter-century, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has been gathering data from more than 400 scientists around the world on climate trends.

The report on 2014 from these international researchers? On average, it was the hottest year ever — in the ocean, as well as on land.

Martin LaBar / Creative Commons

There’s nothing like the beautiful blue-flowered hydrangea. Although once thought of as an old fashioned flower, hydrangeas are popular again.

NASA-JHUAPL-SwRI

On Tuesday night, astronomers got an encouraging signal from New Horizons -- after 21 hours of radio silence, the NASA probe reported it had safely made its way past Pluto. Now, scientists in Connecticut say the real work begins. 

Brian Garrett / Creative Commons

In 1972, there were only seven active osprey nests in Connecticut. The birds were listed as endangered or threatened in many states -- due to the widespread use of the toxin DDT, which was banned that same year.

Wayback Burgers

Gillian Maffeo said it all started as an April Fool's Day joke. Wayback Burgers, a resturant chain headquartered in Cheshire with locations across the state and country, started advertising a new type of milkshake: one infused with protein, from bugs. 

Alice Henneman / Creative Commons

I’m an Italian-American from Waterbury, so I’d like to think I know a little about basil. 

Pauline Zaldonis

A number of mobile food stores will be making their way around the state this summer. The idea is to bring fresh and affordable produce to communities without a nearby supermarket. 

Sergey Yeliseev / Creative Commons

In a press release from the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection late last month, the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station announced that there was gypsy moth -- Lymantria dispar -- activity across the state, coupled with some pockets of tree defoliation. However, the increased moth activity does not necessarily indicate that long term issues are ahead, according to the CAES.

Go New Haven Go / Facebook

New Haven Mayor Toni Harp and city transportation officials have announced the next phase of GoNewHavenGo, an initiative to encourage Elm City residents to use alternative forms of transportation. 

David Goehring / Flickr Creative Commons

With the latter half of the 20th century came the rise of a new land conservation movement. Private, non-profit land trusts became increasingly popular among those interested in preserving land across the United States. 

Rhode Island researchers have received $500,000 in federal grant money to investigate a fungus that’s killing native bats. The mysterious illness has attacked bats across North America.

Over the last decade, biologists believe an illness known as white-nose syndrome has killed some six-million bats in North America. The fungus appears on the bat’s muzzle. It targets hibernating bats, causing serious infections on their wings, and bodies.

Oksana Perkins/iStock / Thinkstock

Longer tractor trailers could soon be coming to highways in Connecticut. The bill, which has passed out of the U.S. House, would allow truckers to use double-trailers that are each 33 feet long. Right now, the feds cap these twin-trailers at 28 feet a piece. 

Metropolitan Transit Authority

Mechanical problems have left a Connecticut span of a 111-year-old bridge stuck in the open position, delaying Metro-North trains to and from New York City.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Before Superstorm Sandy made landfall in 2012, several Connecticut towns received mandatory evacuation orders. But many chose to ignore them and ride out the storm. Now researchers at Yale University are trying to find out why. 

A small company in California is hoping to make a big splash by providing detailed flood maps to homeowners and insurance companies. And to do that, the company is using one of the fastest supercomputers in the world.

The company is called Katrisk, based in Berkeley, Calif. Hydrologist and computer modeler Dag Lohmann is one of the company's founders. He says the flood maps the Federal Emergency Management Agency already produces will tell you how prone a particular area is to flooding.

NASA

Oysters, lobsters, and bass were once the Long Island Sound’s  largest exports. But in recent years, changes in water temperature and pollution have triggered  a “dead zone” in the Sound --  an area where fish and other wildlife are unable to flourish. The Long Island Sound Blue Plan was passed by the state legislature this past spring to combat this challenge, among others.

The Massachusetts Attorney General’s office has announced an agreement that paves the way for a solar energy facility on a brownfield site in Great Barrington.

Christopher.Michel / Creative Commons

As Earth's climate changes, mountain-dwelling animals have typically been viewed as universal losers. Warming temperatures force a species upward, it runs out of habitable space, and it dies off. But new research is complicating that notion, suggesting some mountain animals might actually benefit in the near term from climate change. 

Robert Dewar / Creative Commons

Neanderthals have long been recognized as humans’ closest relatives. They were highly intelligent, skilled hunters, with a rugged build, and a knack for toolmaking.

Daily Joe / Creative Commons

The EPA has issued new guidelines for underground gasoline tanks, changes the agency hopes will beef up safety standards for containers underneath gas stations and convenience stores in Connecticut.

Multiple Microbursts Hit Connecticut

Jun 25, 2015
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

The National Weather Service says strong thunderstorms that knocked out power to about 50,000 homes and businesses in Connecticut on Tuesday produced multiple microbursts with wind gusts of up to 95 mph.

Keoni Cabral / Creative Commons

Water shapes our lives. From streams to rivers, bays to oceans, water defines not only topography, but the neighborhoods and culture around us. 

Department of Agriculture

The goats were taken in January from the Butterfield Farm Company in Cornwall. They were said to be malnourished with many suffering from a number of highly-transmissible diseases. Now, the state has announced a plan to manage the herd of 96 animals that fell into state care following an animal-cruelty investigation.

Kevin Thompson / Flickr Creative Commons

In 1997, more than 180 nations signed the Kyoto Protocol. The idea was clear and ambitious: Begin the process of saving the planet from global warming. The Kyoto protocol outlined what were thought to be realistic guidelines for reducing greenhouse gas emissions among developed nations. In the nearly 20 years since the protocol was signed, climate change has showed few indications of slowing.

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